Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why do I need a platform? This soapbox works just fine.


Yesterday I wrote a guest post over at Harry Potter for Writers here:

In the comments people mentioned that I *might* be the kind of gal who speaks her mind—and that’s true. I like to climb the tallest mountain and shout from its snow covered peak about things that I believe in. There is no shame there, I never claim to have all the answers but I will always know what I feel is right. No amount of naysayers or industry experts can take that away from me, or away from you.

Lately I have been reading a lot of about the importance of author platforms. Previously I ignored these types of informational posts, author platforms are for nonfiction writers, right?

Yes. But no.

If you are a politician, and you campaign on health care reform, that is called your platform. If you are a nonfiction writer you would need something that would make you an expert in your field, or qualified to write about your subject. Do you have a cooking blog that reaches 100k? That would be your platform. Are you a show dog judge with years of having your name out there? That would be your platform.

So how does any of this relate to the fiction writer?

It’s not like Amanda Hocking is qualified to write young adult vampire novels because she is a young adult vampire. I mean she could be, but I don’t know her business.

The more information I see on platforms for fiction writers, the more I realize they are using platform in the place of something else. A combination of audience, fan base, and followers. I see some people ask “What is your platform?” But what I hear is, “Who is going to buy your book?” Who, not what is the important part.

A million years ago Writer’s Digest had an article of platforms and it can be found here:

I think it’s more accurate than a lot of the platform blogs I see out there recently. I’d say the first section is the best, after that it gets into the same thought process that platform= some kind of angle. Which again is more true for nonfiction writers.

You don’t need an angle, you need a captive audience. People could argue my platform is writing, but it’s every other writer’s too. Other people would be compelled to say my book is my platform, or my genre is my platform but none of those are quite right either.

I have come to the conclusion, I don’t need to define a platform. The soap box of my blog is just fine. What I need is to sell a number of books, that no one can define but enough to be called a success, and then no one will care about a few planks of wood.

So when people tell you that you need a platform, take a second to think about what they are really saying.

Monday, June 27, 2011




I decided to do this fun little number on a whim, you can check it out here:

All the cool people were doing it!

After that I weighed on and off all morning WHICH ‘wip’ I should use. I am doing my final few edits on SKELETON LAKE and writing my first Draft of a Book called Those Damned DeLeons which you wont even get to see until next year.

So since TDD’s release date is so far away I went with Skeleton Lake! Pigments of My Imagination will be out soon, and after that is Skeleton Lake which is the first book in a 4 book series.

The RULES for this Blogfest:
Pick any five lines or any five SHORT excerpts from one of your WIPs. If you're feeling shy, and don't want to share from your own work, share from something you LOVE.

So here I go:

1.) "The lake is nothing but a false idol. Tormenting me like a cruel god. Reminding me for all my days, and every last dream filled night, that what it gives to us it can so easily take away." –Raiden

2.) Most of all I wanted to hate her, needed to. Because she had died and stayed that way, because she had left him alone and that made him miserable, and because no amount of anything I had to give would ever take that away.

3.) Raiden had invaded my heart; my very existence was of him, false flesh and bronze bones.  I couldn't let him live here, permeating the walls of my family home too.

4.) "I chose you from all the others," she sang. "to give you the life I gave away, to save you from sharing a fate with me. Don't make the same mistake again."—Cassie

5.) Conrad walked out into the muddy water of the lake. He did not use the dock. I watched him shed layers like every part of him was screaming in pain. I knew that it probably was. His back was turned to me, and I was grateful I couldn’t see the parts of him that made him what he was. A Hallow.

So what do you guys think?

Just FYI tomorrow I am doing a guest blog over at Harry Potter for Writers:

I am very excited about it!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Writing Process Demystified #3: To Tweet, or Not to Tweet? That is the Question.


If I am writing book, which is often, I am writing it longhand. My first draft is always done in legal pads and spiral notebooks, with the exception the the middle grade books I write; those are done in composition books.

None of them involve actual skulls (well maybe Skeleton Lake) or soliloquies.

I have been writing for more than half my life, at twenty seven I am very set in my ways.

The one really bad thing about that is I HATE typing my book when it’s done, mostly because when you have to transfer it you get in your first good edit. I read my book out loud as I type it and I pick up on awkward sentences and things that do not work at all.

Only sick people like editing.

There is a battle being waged by those who think the pen is mightier than Microsoft Word; but there is an even more epic controversy.

To tweet, or not to tweet, (while writing) that is the question.

Coming from the girl who tweeted her way through the 3 Day Novel Contest, I guess it’s easy to see what side of the fence I typically end up on. Typically, but not always.

I think you can always tell when I am tweeting and writing. Mostly because those tweets make little sense, and are often entirely random and not about writing at all.

It’s true I have managed to ability to write longhand and tweet at the same time. That is because I don’t have to be looking at the paper to form the letters, and I already wrote the sentence in my head so the words are just there—on the tips of my fingers.

But sometimes… sometimes I need a reason to slack off. Sometimes I am looking for that distraction.

I have experimented with programs like Write or Die, I ground myself from twitter, and even the ability to mess with my playlists if I don’t hit my goals. BUT what it really comes down to is your ability to tune out the distractions, to make yourself do whatever it takes. If you can’t teach yourself discipline your writing career with be fraught with uphill battles that lead to no where.  No amount of fancy gadgets or anything else will save you from yourself.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Wanted: CAVE so dark I can forget EVERYTHING

I have learned a lot of hard lessons in the past month and a half. Most of the lessons learned included things most people don’t have to endure; like my husband being gone, leaving me with four little kiddos and little sanity.

My husband is in the Air Force, and he goes on these trips several times a year. Usually I have a 2-3 day adjustment period to get used to being on my own again but this time I just can’t seem to get past it.

Today another deadline comes and goes, and even though it was a personal deadline it still HURTS to miss it. Especially because this was the revised deadline due to other things that happened outside of  my control, this time I feel like it’s me and that makes me feel like a total loser. I had willing able people to get me through it and I just couldn’t get my life in check.

I know that isn’t really my fault, but some of it is, and it’s my life. I feel like I should have a better handle on things and I just don’t. I have gone to bed every day since my husband has been gone so tired and sore my body feels like a cement puppet. I am trying to make myself move with steel wires that slice through my fingers when I try to make it do something it doesn’t want to. Which by ten PM is pretty much everything.

10 PM guys! That’s hours earlier than usual, and maybe that is part of the problem.

I haven’t picked up a pen in a week. You have no idea what that is doing to my mental state.

I am giving up on deadlines* until I come back from Vacation next month. You have no idea how bad I need a vacation. Of course I wont get to enjoy my vacation for a while, first I have to drive 9 hours with 4 small kids by myself to meet my husband at a rendezvous point so we can drive the rest of the way to Texas together. Joy.

We leave Thursday, if you don’t hear from me after that call the psych ward.

*Deadlines/ commitments I wont be forgetting:

Pirates VS Ninjas over at Ninjachat
A guest blog over at Harry Potter for Writers

and all those other things I forgot about that involve other people I refuse to let down.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Writing Process Demystified #2: Oral Fixation

Ever notice that a high percentage of writers are addicted to coffee? Why do you think that is?


It’s because we keep stupid hours and because of other things.

Oh wait, you wanted me to talk about those other things didn’t you? Well it’s embarrassing, but I will admit the whole reason I got into coffee was because all the kids at the poetry slam were doing it.

Yes. I did say cool kids and poetry slam in the same sentence. What? You don’t think POETRY SLAMS ARE COOL?

Anyway, I used to hate coffee. At least the taste of it. It took me years, but then I was queen of the Starbucks, and eventually could even stomach my home brew. Sometimes while the glorious scent of my first (or seventh) pot of coffee is drifting through the air I think, “Why have I chosen this life?” Then I realized, I never really had a choice at all.

Before coffee, I’ll call that my dark ages, I still used to write. I still used to complete books on my frantic, inhumane, schedule. But something was different, it was my mouth!

What did I do with my mouth when it wasn’t drinking French roast?

I chewed pen caps! Really. I don’t actually recommend this, and the whole reason I brought it up was because I wanted to warn you!

Remember last week when we talked about REM for your writing? I said you could trick yourself into writing by always doing the same thing when you start over and over? They say it takes 2 weeks for things to become habit, pay close attention to what bad ones you may pick up. Many writers have some type of oral fixation, and contrary to popular belief it’s not because we are all insane…. I mean that might be true but it doesn’t explain the mouth thing. The mouth thing is because it’s comforting.

Writing does all sorts of things to your mental health, and not all of them good. Pay attention to your mouth next time you write. It will make climb the walls at first, so you might have to forget all about this blog later. But that’s OK because next Sunday is the third installment of THE WRITING PROCESS DYMYSTIFIED

Friday, June 17, 2011

Driving the Bandwagon vs. Hitching a Ride

“Hey Mister, where you headed?
Are you in a hurry?” –Green Day Hitchin’ a Ride

The thing I hated about trying to break into the world of traditional publishing was the time it took to do everything. You live and breathe on someone else’s schedule, and you wouldn’t be human if it didn’t start wearing you down.

These are troubling times in the publishing world. The lines have been firmly drawn, and each side has loudly declared the other the loser.


They seem to hate each other right now, but one day I think traditional publishing and self/indie publishing are going to need each other.

POPOSTEROUS you say! Well lets think about this shall we.

If sweet little Mary Sue, has her book published by Random House; how did that come about? Assuming she started her novel writing career as a nobody it likely went like this.

Mary Sue writes a book---> Revises and edits a book---> Submits a query letter an lit agent (or thirty lit agents)---> Is picked out of the slush pile.

Lets stop right there. WHY was she picked out the slush pile? Probably because of one or all of these reasons:
1.) Good story
2.) Good writing
3.) Agents personal preference
4.) The chance that it will be sold based off of Market trends as the agent interprets them.

So many decisions in the publishing world are based purely on speculation. What an agent thinks will sell to a publisher. What a publisher thinks will sell to a particular audience. So I guess the million dollar question is, do they really know?

Sort of.

Publishers aren’t really reinventing the wheel these days as far as content goes, and when they decide it’s out, it’s out.*

So what if we could take speculation out of the publishing equation?

IMPOSSIBLE! You scream.

Just shut up for a minute and let me connect some dots for you. As I am sure you have read all over the internet, amazon e-book darling Amanda Hocking scored a SWEEEEEEET traditional publishing contract earlier this year.

Do you think she followed the same formula Mary Sue did? Of course not she is Amanda Hocking! There was a HUGE bidding war, you know why? Because no one had to speculate on whether or not she would sell books. She has a ginormous fan base, of course she is going to sell books. Personally I LOVE Amanda Hocking, I love everything I have convinced myself she stands for (which is probably not at all what you think she stands for)

So what if it could always be that way? What if they always knew who would sell and who wouldn’t. The answer is, they could, they just don’t want to change their business model.

I have some vary simplistic beliefs when it comes to self or indie publishing. I believe if you were destined to be great you will be great, if you were destined for mediocrity you will be mediocre, if you were doomed to failure—which likely has more to do with your worth ethic than anything else—you will fail.

The path no longer needs to define an author. You don’t have to be driving the bandwagon, you just have to learn to be alright with hitching a ride. Sometimes it’s smarter to take the wheel and drive, and sometimes it’s smarter to fly, this is one of those few instances in life where the destination will mater more than the journey.

Where do you want to end up?

*More on this in my Vlog at the end of the month. Vampire Money Coming June 29th

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It’s not your IMAGINATION. Updates & Secrets to Book Cover Success!

Yesterday I was asked about finding art, or artists for book cover designs. I told Mr. Fetched that today I would blog about it! We will get into that but first updates:

PIGMENTS OF MY IMAGINATION is currently going through it’s last bit of final editing, and formatting. It’s already been edited of course, and re-edited, you get the picture… but I do this thing with commas… should probably be calling this the final proof read.

And don’t forget! PIGMENTS will also included an excerpt of SKELETON LAKE a dark YA paranormal romance.

Now on to book covers!

Q: Why judge a book by it’s cover?

judge_a_book_by_its_cover cartoon

A: Because everyone else does.

I have actually written a couple of blogs on book covers, have a refresher course:

I solded this book 2 my mothre & so can u!
Judge a Book by it’s Cover

Now lets say, for the sake of time, that you already know to *really* sell your book you need a professional looking book cover. So THEN what do you do?

A) Learn Photoshop
B) Google how to make a book cover in Microsoft paint
C) Consult Angela WRITE Now so she can tell you why A and B are horrid ideas.

Obviously the answer is C) Let me tell you why!

Answer A) Learn Photoshop: Chances are, if you don’t have Photoshop skills already, you aren’t going to be whipping out a professional cover any time soon. Also, have you priced Photoshop? You can commission a real artist to do real custom covers—a couple of them for the price of just that program.

Answer B) Google how to make a book cover in Microsoft paint. I once Googled ‘how to book covers’ and one of the top sites had a a tutorial for doing this. NO! I remember screaming!



It’s too late for them, but it’s not too late for you! Step one, find an artist. I tromped through sites like deviant art. I will admit to searching for things like “Hot Emo Boys” and “dark underground lairs” for future releases. Search for something relevant to your book, find and artist you like and ask them if they will do a commission. MANY of the artists there also have this information already displayed on their page. It’s best to work with people who have done commissions before, but don’t be turned away from them if they have not done book covers. MAKE SURE YOU ARRANGE TO HAVE ALL THE RIGHTS, and ask them if they can do word art (or typography etc) for the title. Don’t worry if they can’t, you can find some one else to do this via the same site, or TWITTER. BTW I have seen people quote me a low as $15 for original digital art on DEVIANT.

I use Twitter for everything, I tweeted “need an artist who is good at typography.” Tons of people RT it, and people started coming to me. I got to CHOOSE. I chose @JenBrookman because she is the best. She did the PIGMENTS OF MY IMAGINATION cover and she will be doing many more for me I am sure.



I hope I helped you on your quest Fetched! If not, feel free to hunt me down. I’d gladly do some of the leg work for you if you tell me what you want.